For his performance as Fred Hampton in Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, Daniel Kaluuya has been awarded the Best Supporting Actor distinction at the 2021 Oscars.
Earlier this year, the appearance of both Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield in the Supporting Actor category caused confusion, with many understandably wondering who, exactly, the Academy considered to be the lead of the film which depicts the events leading up to the murder of Hampton.
Kaluuya delivered an emotional acceptance speech, in which he thanked “the gift that is Lakeith Stanfield. He also shouted out tHampton and the Black Panther party, for showing him how to love himself.
In a since-removed Instagram post, Stanfield himself weighed in on the questions, saying he was “confused too but fuck it lmao.”
In an interview back in February conducted as part of Complex’s Judas Week series, Kaluuya and Stanfield’s co-star Dominique Fishback—who portrays Hampton’s partner Deborah Johnson (now known as Akua Njeri) in the film—reflected on how she was hand-delivered the role by King.
“Daniel and LaKeith were already attached and he was trying to get Jesse Plemons,” Fishback said at the time. “I was just like, ‘That’s a dope cast, I would love to be a part of that.’ He said, ‘Take the script and let me know what you think.’ I took the script and I read it, and I gave him a whole long email about all of the things that I loved.”
“The first guy, William O’Neal, was LaKeith [Stanfield],” Keith Lucas told Complex in February. “We all agreed immediately, LaKeith is going to be William. Shaka was convinced that Kaluuya needed to be Hampton. Initially, we didn’t have a person in mind, but once he said “Kaluuya” we were like, “Oh yeah, of course. He can bring that energy that we need.”